I5 Vs I7 For Video Editing – What To Use?

You’re probably heard that I5 and I7s are some of the best processors on the market, but that is only true for their respective purposes. I5 and I7 both excel for very different reasons, but both of them may be used for video editing.

The debate about I5s and I7s never really stops, you have people claiming that the I7s are better for handling multithreaded tasks, and the I5s are better for saving money, and single-core performance.

The truth is, for video editing, mostly depends on the user’s individual budget, and the type of tasks they’re performing. This information will greatly effect whether they’ll go for an I5 or an I7.

Users with more money to spend, and generally want more processing power will go for an I7, but users that want to save money, and also don’t mind waiting longer for a video to be completed might prefer an I5.

The answer is – Due to video editing being highly multithreaded, you will see content creators naturally gravitate towards picking up an I7 processor, this is because they generally feature more cores, and have a higher clock speed.

Cores & Threads For Video Editing


Since video editing is a multithreaded task, the effects of cores and threads can be quite profound. This is because multithreaded tasks can heavily benefit from a processor with multiple cores.

What actually happens is that a workload such as video editing can be broken down into smaller and less complex chunks to allow for parallel computing. This results in faster completion of tasks, and improved responsiveness.

With threads, it will also have a significant effect on how smoothly things will run. It can allow for smoother playback of complex visual effects, this is because there is more power readily available to process and render graphics faster.

What Intel Processors Have Threads(Hyperthreading)?

I5s now support hyperthreading which is great as it boosts performance for multithreaded tasks. The threads can boost performance by up to 30%, and this is great since video files are often large and require a lot of processing power.

I5 processors have got significantly more powerful over time, you can see I5 processors with up 14 cores (I5 13600K). But the older I5 processors such as the 8th and 9th generation I5s will usually have around 6 cores.

i7 processors have 16 cores for the 13th generation chips, and 8 cores for the older generations, BUT they’ve always had the hyperthreading feature where an application can utilize logical cores(threads). Hyperthreading allows a single processor to operate 2 threads at the same time, 4 cores = 8 threads, 6 cores = 12 threads.

You are probably wondering if hyperthreading has any benefit for video editing, well hyperthreading does not = double performance, you’re not literally doubling the physical cores.

However, what hyperthreading does, is it utilizes idle resources which means hyperthreading is best used for applications where multiple tasks(Multi-Threading) can be organized so your processor is effectively never idle. Applications that benefit massively from this feature are Video Editing, and 3D Rendering.

CPU Cache:

CPU cache

The CPU cache is a much faster memory system than the much larger RAM you have on your system. RAM & HDDs are far too slow for repetitive tasks, so this is where CPU caches come into play.

I7s will usually have more CPU cache than their I5 counterparts making I7s slightly better at video editing in this regard. The I5 13600K has 24MB of cache, and the I7 13700K has 30M of cache.

More CPU cache is better because it reduces the chances of the CPU going to the RAM for information. This means the I7 13700K is less likely going to be bottlenecked by the RAM when it needs information for video editing.

A large portion of a processor’s performance is actually related to cache, it isn’t always CPU core count or clock speed. This is why the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is so good at gaming despite having a low clock speed.

Also Read: Is More Cache Better

More Cores Slower Speed Vs Fewer Cores Faster Speed

The question at hand here is asking whether clock speed is more important than core count, for video editing, the CPU GHz won’t really improve performance as much as the core count will. But it will definitely still have an impact on the video editing performance.

It depends on what task is being operated. More cores will be very beneficial for 3D Rendering as frames are divided between each core, therefore faster rendering times. Video editing applications that can benefit from multi-threading will see a huge performance boost from having more cores.

Faster cores result in a faster single-threaded performance which sounds great, but when you have fewer cores & faster speed the performance will be worse on heavily multi-threaded applications.

But What Is Multi-threading?

Multi-threading is where applications can utilize multiple threads simultaneously. Multi-threaded applications run multiple tasks at the same time on different threads to reduce computational time and improve the performance of the application.

Certain tasks are able to take advantage of multithreading, and video editing is one of these tasks. Video editing software will use this ability to speed up the video editing processor, it does this by utilizing multiple threads which will complete a task significantly faster compared to a single thread.

Live Playback Benefits From Single Core Performance

Live playback is a feature that allows video editors to review their work in real-time as they’re editing. This is a helpful feature as it allows you to review your work immediately instead of having to wait for the video to render before viewing the changes.

For the best live playback performance, you want a processor that has strong single-core performance, this means the clock speeds, and IPC iso are both acceptable.

Now, IPC mostly depends on the generator of a processor, for example, the 13Th gen Intel chips will have higher IPC compared to the 12Th gen Intel chips.

So, the I5 13600K and the I7 13700K will both have identical IPC performance, but the I7 13700K will straight out outperform the 13600K in terms of clock speed. I7 13700K – 5.4 GHz boost vs I5 13600K 5.1 GHz boost.

Separately, whilst a processor such as a Xeon processor has a huge amount of cores (24), it will comparatively perform worse than an I7 processor when it comes to Live Playback.

Rendering Is Multi Core Dependant

For actual rendering, the more cores you have, the better. So, you will want to pick up a processor with more cores if you’re going for more rendering performance.

Rendering can easily be broken down into multiple smaller tasks which will allow for parallel computing to take place. Different cores will be assigned to work on different pieces of the same video at the same time.

I7 Or I5 For 1080P, 2K, 4K?

We must always consider what resolution you’re going to be video editing at, this is because it directly affects the strain placed on the CPU. The higher the resolution, the more processing power you’re going to need.

Having a weak processor whilst attempting to edit at 4K can result in slower or choppier editing, as well as the potential for your system to crash.

I5 Processors For 1080P, 2K, And 4K

Credit: Intel

An I5 processor is perfectly capable of video editing at 1080P, and the I5 13600K has 14 cores, as well as hyperthreading, making it a multicore beast. While the I7 will do 1080P better, I5 processors are more than enough, and you can save money going for them.

For 2K video editing, there’s not much difference from 1080P in terms of how well the I5 can handle it. I5s are relatively robust and have an adequate amount of multitasking power to handle 2K files with ease.

Lastly, we believe I5 processors have enough power to accommodate 4K video editing. However, if you’re desirous of editing at a higher level, perhaps you want to do something more complex, then an I7 processor will definitely supplement you with more power.

For rudimentary tasks like moving clips around, and applying special effects, then we believe an I5 is perfectly fine for 4K. But if you want to do more complex video editing, and undertake 4K rendering projects, then you will require a stronger CPU.

I7 Processors For 1080P, 2K, And 4K

Credit: Intel

For 1080P, an I7 processor is more than enough, the I7 17300K has 16 processing cores and a total of 24 threads, this is undoubtedly more than enough for 1080P, especially if the I5 can handle it with ease.

Taking into consideration, it has more CPU cache, this means the I7 is less prone to being bottlenecked by your RAM making the I7 far superior to the I5 for multithreaded tasks.

For 2K, I7 processors are still relatively overkill, you’ll be able to perform simple and complex tasks with relative ease. Keep in mind, the I7 has superior multithreading capabilities compared to the I5, so they can process instructions simultaneously far better.

For 4K video editing, the I7 can be the difference you need if you’re looking to take 4K a little more seriously. The I7 can be the perfect processor from a price-to-performance perspective, not too overkill, and with more than enough power to do the job.

Stay Away From Dual-Core Processors!

More cores = better performance. Dual-core processors are not recommended for video editing even from a non-serious editing standpoint. It is possible to edit with dual-core processors, but the time for certain tasks such as (Video Rendering, Encoding, and Decoding) will be significantly longer in comparison to quad,hexa, and octa core processors.

Dual-core processors = fewer threads which means heavily multi-threaded applications will suffer.

What About The Intel I9, Are They Worth It?

I9 processors are usually reserved for those that want the best of the best. I9 processors are stronger than I7s, they have more CPU cache, more cores, and higher clock speeds making them an absolute beast for multithreaded tasks.

The I9 13900K has a whopping 36M of cache, 24 total cores, and 32 threads. This puts it at the top of the performance charts with only the likes of the 7950x competing with it.

For video editing, I9s are quite simply the best, they easily outperform the I7 and the I5 processors and are commonly found in professional high-end workstations where the content creator needs to get the most out of their system.

Final Verdict

To finish this off, the I7s is the winner, and it will outperform the I5s in nearly every way except for the price. Additionally, the I7s have more cache than the i5s which means repetitive tasks will be executed faster and more efficiently.

i5 processors are great if you’re just starting out and want a cheap effective CPU to do the job at 1080P. Higher resolutions will result in slow and impracticable performance.

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